Tangled Family Tree: Appears straight-forward at first... and then you find out about Gemini, who is Jarod's clone, and Ethan, who is Jarod/Kyle/Emily's half-brother because Mr. Raines implanted Major Charles' sperm into Catherine Parker (which then, of course, sort of makes Jarod and his family related to Miss Parker and Mr. Lyle).
Played By: Michael T. Weiss; Ryan Merriman (child)
A "pretender", someone with a high-level intelligence who can pass as an expert in practically any field. Jarod was abducted as a boy by the Centre, a nefarious think tank that recognized his abilities as a savant. Trained under Sydney, Jarod ran 'simulations' of deadly accidents and terrorist attacks, believing that his data would prevent such events in the future. He was later horrified to learn that the Centre was doing just the opposite. As an adult, Jarod escaped from the clutches of the Centre to search for his real family.
The Atoner: For what The Centre used his sims for.
Beware the Nice Ones: He's a genuinely kind and compassionate person who, simply put, loves people and is fascinated by them... unless you've taken advantage of, or hurt, an innocent, then he's a calculating, unstoppable ball of barely Suppressed Rage (and sometimes not Suppressed Rage), that will set up elaborate Batman Gambits that result in one hell of a Mind Rape, or (if you've kidnapped or harmed a child) a beating within an inch of your life.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In any job he takes on he's considered odd, but much too good to fire.
Fellow F.B.I. agent: "Jarod, has anyone ever told you you're an odd duck?"
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Is obsessed with helping those wronged by his corrupted Sims, those he feels have been grievously wronged in unrelated ways, and even those he happens to run into at any given time that need help.
Young Sydney: You can't save everyone. Young Jarod: Well, I had to try!
Cute and Psycho: He is genuinely kind and compassionate to innocents, but the side of him you see when he is handing out justice to villains is a shock to both those that have met him and the audience because he seems rather a bit psycho.
Dark Is Not Evil: His preferred wardrobe is all black, which makes him look quite sinister.
Double Consciousness: Because he was essentially raised to inhabit the minds of others, he doesn't have a very strong sense of who he is and mentions more than once that he's got many hundred lives in his head (people he's Pretended to be) but none of which are his.
Emotional Bruiser: Doesn't have the cultural stigma against showing emotion, but you certainly can't call him unmanly.
Expository Hairstyle Change: Jarod's hair (forcibly kept as a crew-cut by and in The Centre) grows out gradually throughout the seasons as a sort of mark of growth in freedom, individuality, and how much he's going to let The Centre control him even now he's free.
Friend to All Children: A lot of his pretends involve helping children somehow harmed by an incident, and woe unto you if you harm a child, for he has nearly beaten men to death for doing so.
Friend to All Living Things: Kind to every possible animal - even cockroaches. One unseen pretend even dealt exclusively with a farmer using a too powerful cattle prod on cows.
Genius Bruiser: The bruiser part grows as the series goes on, since The Centre, quite understandably, didn't teach him any way to defend himself he had to learn after escaping and takes lessons and grows into quite a good fighter.
Genius Sweet Tooth: Having quickly discovered sugar after his escape, he loves it in all forms (but especially Pez and ice cream).
Heroic Safe Mode: Of the realistic sort. Learned how to go into this at an early age because he had to learn how to think in dangerous situations and had to put aside pain to figure something out; he can disengage his mind from what is going on and just concentrate on his thoughts while 'some other part' feels the pain. Obviously doesn't always work, because the pain can overcome the safe mode, but it has allowed him to take torture without losing his mind or as much of his spirit as his torturers have intended.
House of Broken Mirrors: Jarod is not fond of mirrors because they remind him of everything he is not: one and whole. He rarely (except for a few memorable occasions) actually breaks the mirrors to reflect his splintered and broken psyche, but he does tend to avoid having lodgings that have them.
Averted in "Once In a Blue Moon" where Jarod refuses (because of the emotional and mental trauma it will cause him) to fully go into a psychotic serial killer's mind, and instead tricks the man into revealing where the next victim was.
Jarod's mother. A very kind woman who has been on the run from The Centre ever since they kidnapped Jarod, but has never stopped searching for him. It is implied that she knows more about The Centre than many people inside The Centre, may have been working with Catherine, and has some inkling about The Chosen One status of her son.
Determinator: It's been thirty years and she's still not given up searching for her son(s).
Law of Inverse Fertility: Was unable to have children until she and Major Charles went to that very helpful fertility clinic... which just happened to sideline in kidnapping special children.
Jarod's father who used to be an Air Force pilot. Has been on the run since Jarod's kidnapping, but also never stopped searching for him. He and Margaret got split up while on the run and hasn't been able to find her for several years. Believed to have assassinated Catherine Parker, but that was just a lie created by The Centre to try to get Miss Parker to kill him.
The third child of Margaret and Major Charles. Has been on the run with her parents since she was born. At some point she was separated from Margaret after she and Margaret were separated from Major Charles, and, under a different surname, became a reporter so as to have a cover under which to search for her parents and sibling(s).
Kyle. Second child born to Margaret and Major Charles, and also stolen by The Centre. See his his tropes under Other Pretenders/Centre Experiments
Gemini. Jarod's clone, created by Mr. Raines. See his tropes under Other Pretenders/Centre Experiments
Ethan. The result of Mr. Raines impregnating Catherine Parker with Major Charles' sperm. See his tropes under Other Pretenders/Centre Experiments
The Centre Pursuit Team
Miss Parker, Sydney, and Broots (occasionally joined by Miss Parker's personal Sweeper, Sam, and regularly in later seasons by Angelo) have been tasked with the recapture of Jarod. Though they at first clash, they soon form a close bond that has more to do with staying alive through all of The Centre's backstabbing than actually capturing Jarod. They eventually become more allies than antagonists to Jarod.Tropes that fit the group as a whole include:
A former "cleaner" for The Centre who now works as a field agent. Miss Parker is also the daughter of The Centre's chief executive, Mr. Parker. Her allegiances are challenged when Jarod digs up evidence regarding her late mother's alleged suicide — which may have been murder.
Dating Catwoman: Her relationship with Jarod, however, she's not willing to openly admit her attraction, as where he is (though he just wants to see her happy more even more than see her with him and he sets her up with Nice Guy Thomas).
Jarod: Your gun won't work. I took the firing pin out last night. Miss Parker: I sleep with this under my pillow. Jarod: And you drool out of the left corner of your mouth. (Miss Parker pulls the trigger and nothing happens)
In the Blood: Wonders if she, along with the other Parkers, are all doomed to be murderers, whether it's just in the blood, or whether she can break the cycle. It doesn't help that in "Island of the Haunted" it is said that her family is cursed because her great grandfather made a deal with the devil and slaughtered his entire family.
I See Dead People: Her mother for one at the end of the fourth season, and then the ghost of her great grandfather's murdered daughter in "Island of the Haunted."
Played By: Patrick Bauchau; Alex Wexo (flashbacks to Jarod's childhood)
A psychologist who works for The Centre. He was tasked with overseeing Jarod's development and knows more about him than anyone. Sydney is the closest thing Jarod has to a father, though Sydney refused to return such sentiments. Nevertheless, Sydney cannot deny his paternal instincts for Jarod, and cooperates with Miss Parker's manhunt in hopes of protecting him from harm.
Stealth Mentor: To a certain extent to Jarod. He hasn't told Jarod about all the ways he saved Jarod from The Centre both in the past and in the present, so Jarod will think him more a villain instead of coming back to extract him and chance getting recaptured.
Those Wacky Nazis: Was kidnapped by them in World War II as a child to be experimented on.
You Are What You Hate: Hates Nazis for experimenting on kids, and hates himself just as much for doing the same thing.
Played By: Jon Gries
A computer expert and the third member of Miss Parker's triad. Unlike other Centre employees, Broots is shown to be a caring family man who is rather out of his depth. He holds no stake in Jarod's capture, but cooperates out of regard for Sydney and Miss Parker, his closest friends.
Mission Control: For most of Season 1, Broots would stay at The Centre while Miss Parker and Sydney would go in the field. By the end of the season, while remaining the tech guy, he would regularly join them instead.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Comes across as an affable old gent who is obsequious to his superiors, believes the best of everyone, and can't see a threat right under his nose, but is actually one of the most cunning, cold bastards in the series, regularly out-gambitting all comers and playing ambitious rivals Raines and Lyle like a master pianist.
A former colleague of Sydney's who ran similar experiments with other children, most notably Kyle and Angelo. At some point in the past, Raines abandoned his doctorate. A chain-smoker, he seems to be suffering from illness and is always accompanied by his squeaky-wheeled oxygen tank.
Cry for the Devil: It was only one episode, but there was an episode when Jarod stopped a child murderer in the past and his copycat in modern times. Jarod finally finds the body of the dead girls and a locket one wore. The next scene we see is Big Bad Mr. Raines clutching the necklace and crying. Sydney lampshades this trope by telling Miss Parker, "Sometimes even the devil deserves a little privacy."
Heel-Faith Turn: At the start of Season 4, Raines returned from Africa far more religious than before and though still out to catch Jarod, seemingly more kindhearted. The question was whether this was the result of some Triumvirate torturing, he himself faking it to save his own life or if it was all genuine. Apparently, it was a fake-out as he's back to his old state-of-mind in the movies.
Villainous Incest: When seen in retrospect, when you know he's Miss Parker's biological father, his ogling her in the first couple of seasons turns into unutterable squickness and underlines his evilness.
A latecomer who is brought in to oversee Jarod's capture, which The Centre believes has been mishandled by Miss Parker's team. Lyle conceals his sadistic tendencies beneath a veneer of professionalism.
An Arm and a Leg: Thanks to both Jarod and those in The Centre, Lyle finds himself on the bad side of a Yakuza clan. He disappears for a while, but upon his return, he's missing a thumb - per their tradition.
The Bluebeard: Has indulged his serial killing by marrying mail-order brides and then killing them.
Bullying a Dragon: In "Past Sim," he brushes off warnings of Jarod taking offense to using one of his Sims to kidnap a murder witness (which also led to the death of a federal agent). See above trope for how well that worked out for him.
Devil in Plain Sight: Everybody knows he's an ambitious Manipulative Bastard who will anything to get to the top, but everyone but Miss Parker's team and Jarod seems completely oblivious to the fact he's a serial killer and a cannibal.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He framed his adopted father for his own murder (ensuring a life sentence), but this also drove his adopted mother insane. When Jarod points this out, Lyle - if even for a moment - seemed genuinely remorseful about that.
Eviler than Thou: In his first appearance, Mr. Raines refers to him as "The Bogeyman." Mr. Parker is also unable to handle him directly, requiring more covert action. Of course, that was when Lyle had a much stronger powerbase in the organization.
Freudian Excuse: His adopted father disciplined him by locking him in a shed for any misbehavior.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Was just a small town ordinary farm boy... until he faked his own death by murdering his best friend and making the body seem to be his and framing his adoptive father for it and is now a Serial Killer with a penchant for cannibalism.
Started out as Mr. Lyle's right hand woman, and implied lover. She has her eyes set on climbing as high as she can go in The Centre by fair means or foul, and forms a bit of a rivalry with Miss Parker because she is trying to catch Jarod first. After Lyle's loss of power she ends up marrying Mr. Parker. She bears Mr. Parker's child, but he (having no more use for her), has her killed by Cox.
Becoming the Mask: At first only went out with Mr. Parker because she wanted power, but genuinely fell in love with him.
The Rival: She and Miss Parker are each other's. They eventually gain respect for each other after Miss Parker finds out that though Brigitte's 'seduction' of Mr. Parker might have initially been a bid for power, she actually has fallen in love with him.
A pet project of Mr. Raines, Angelo was born Timmy, a child savant in the same vein as Jarod. Mr. Raines subjected him to intense shock treatments to enhance his empathic mind, at the cost of his lower brain function. Initially portrayed as an antagonist, Angelo is quickly revealed to be more cunning then he lets on. He considers Jarod his friend and assists him from behind the scenes.
Didn't See That Coming: Timmy had the potential to be a Pretender, but the abilities were latent. The experiments then-Dr. Raines performed on him were designed to bring that potential to the surface and make him like Jarod. Instead, they destroyed his mind and made him an empath.
Flawed Prototype: He was supposed to be a Pretender like Jarod,but Raines experimented on him to make him more efficient and ended up destroying his mind and turning him into something completely different and completely useless for the Pretender program.
Reverse Mole: Was brought into the series as a supposed antagonist who could predict Jarod's movements, but turns out he's been sending Jarod information on his family and sending him warnings all along.
Smarter Than You Look: Aside from covertly aiding Jarod, he has free-run inside The Centre and can apparently escape at will.
Ugly Cute: Not physically cute, but absolutely adorable in his mannerisms, childlike innocence, and childlike love.
Played by: Jeffrey Donovan, Zachary Browne (child)
Another Pretender, one under the tutelage of Raines, who was trained to be conciousless assassin, but grew uncontrollable until Raines ordered him incarcerated. He escapes and appears to be trying to find and assassinate Jarod's parents, however, he is actually Jarod's younger brother and is just looking for his parents as well and he and Jarod team up together to try to find them. He appears to get killed off at the end of the first season finale, but escaped, only to die saving Jarod's life in season two.
Created and conditioned by The Centre to be a more docile version of Jarod, he is a clone of Jarod and only in his mid-teens. He was one of Mr. Raines' projects and was raised to fear and hate Jarod. Jarod and Major Charles rescue him from The Centre.
Clones Are People Too: Has his own personality and is only really like Jarod in looks and level of intelligence (well, and they both positively adore ice cream).
Cloning Blues: Doesn't at first believe he's Jarod's clone, then gets frightened about it, but Jarod reassures him and treats him like a little brother (which he essentially is).
For Your Own Good: The reason Raines gives him for locking him up in a bunker his whole life.
Motivational Lie: Was told by Raines that Jarod killed his parents, so that way if Gemini ever met Jarod he would hate him. One wonders how Raines was going to address things when Gemini got old enough to realise that he's the spitting image of Jarod.
Is the child of Catherine Parker and Major Charles (not either of their choices as Mr. Raines stole a sperm sample from the fertility clinic that Charles and Margaret had gone to, and had implanted it in Catherine during a 'routine' operation). He was taken by Mr. Raines and sent to live outside the knowledge of The Centre to be his personal terrorist/assassin, etc.
A Pretender who was used to corrupt the findings of Jarod's sims. He hates Jarod with a passion, both because he is jealous of him (for The Centre ever thinking that Jarod was superior to him) and because he blames his recapture while escaping with Jarod to be Jarod's fault.
Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Well, eviler. When he was captured while trying to escape with Jarod, he was sent off to the Triumvirate and tortured.
"I'm not a psychopath. I'm a sociopath. There's a difference. See, a psychopath is insane. He can't distinguish between wrong and right. A sociopath knows the difference. He just doesn't have a conscience, you know? So he doesn't care."
An opportunist always looking for a quick buck. He's clever enough to get into trouble, but not clever enough to get himself back out. He first met Jarod when Jarod was injured and he tried to sell him back to The Centre, but Argyle's plan backfired and he was nearly killed by Brigitte but was saved by Jarod; since then he took rather an attachment to Jarod. Despite himself, Jarod finds himself amused by the little man and eventually considers him a friend even if he does take advantage of Jarod's Chronic Hero Syndrome.
Genre Savvy: Enough to come to the conclusion that Jarod is on the run from people who would pay a lot of money to get him back, and that Jarod has Chronic Hero Syndrome, but not enough to keep him out of trouble.
Good Parents: His parents were and are, and he is incredibly devoted to his father (the second episode he's in deals with him trying to work of enough money to give his dad his dream - though it being Argyle he steals money from a gang to get his dad his dream).
A carpenter and all around Nice Guy who woos Miss Parker. Miss Parker is at first suspicious (suspecting that this might be a plot by Raines or Lyle to see if she knows more about Jarod than she says), but ultimately falls for him. Jarod is actually the one who set them up, wanting to see Miss Parker happy.